TMEP 1303: Collective Trademarks and Collective Service Marks Generally

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1303    Collective Trademarks and Collective Service Marks Generally

Although collective trademarks and collective service marks indicate the commercial origin of goods or services, they also indicate that the party providing the goods or services is a member of a certain group and meets the group's standards for admission. A collective mark is used by all members of the collective group; therefore, no one member can own the mark, and the collective organization holds the title to the collectively used mark for the benefit of all members of the group. In comparison, a trademark or service mark is used by the owner of the mark to indicate the commercial source or origin of the goods/services in the owner.

The collective organization itself neither sells the goods nor renders the services provided under the mark, but may advertise so as to publicize the mark and promote the goods or services sold by its members under the mark.  For example, a collective organization of real-estate professionals does not render real-estate services, but rather promotes the real-estate services offered by its members. See Zimmerman v. Nat’l Assoc. of Realtors, 70 USPQ2d 1425, 1428 (TTAB 2004).

Compared with a specimen for a trademark or service mark, which generally shows use of the mark by the owner, a specimen of use for a collective trademark or collective service mark must show use of the mark by a member of the collective organization. 37 C.F.R. §2.44(a)(4)(i)(C); TMEP §1303.01(a)(i)(C). Such use must be on the member’s goods/packaging or in the sale, advertising, or rendering of the member’s services. See37 C.F.R. §2.56(b)(3); TMEP §1303.01(a)(i)(C).